Bad Omen: Porsche Not So Happy With Abysmal EPA Assessment for Taycan

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Just the other day, Porsche discussed how excited it was with the number of people placing reservations for its hot new Taycan EV. Unfortunately, that release appears to have been timed to draw attention away from the Environmental Protection Agency’s assessment of the Taycan’s “fuel economy” — a figure that was waiting around the corner to bash Porsche’s shins with a lead pipe.

When the German automaker announced the model, it claimed the electric sedan would offer ranges of up to 280 miles on a single charge using the European Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP). The real number came in at 256 miles for WLTP. Since EPA estimates are typically much more conservative than WLTP averages, many expected maximum range to come down substantially once the United States finished testing … and come down it did.

The EPA calculated the 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as having a maximum range of 201 miles.

Meanwhile, the model everyone compares it with — Tesla’s Model S — can be purchased with a maximum range between 348 and 373 miles. We suspected Porsche would have trouble matching Tesla’s range, as the American manufacturer has been hammering away at battery tech for far longer, but the disparity is larger than we bargained for.

That may also be true for Porsche. The automaker has commissioned an “ independent study” from AMCI Testing to assess the model’s range. Unsurprisingly, it reported a maximum range of 275 miles for the Taycan Turbo in normal mode under the highway conditions. Swapping that to ranged mode and keeping it inside the city upped the figure to an alleged 288 miles.

Despite AMCI seeing improved numbers vs the EPA assessment, Porsche still has to use the latter when trying to sell the vehicle to U.S. customers. That’s bad news, as 201 miles means the $151,000 Taycan Turbo has a smaller operating radius than the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf Plus, Jaguar E-Pace, Audi e-tron, and anything sold by Tesla Motors.

It almost seems like a mistake, considering the Taycan uses a rather sizable 93.4 kWh battery pack, yet Porsche has already said that it accepts the EPA’s assessment. It just wants everyone to know that other tests have shown the model performing better.

We don’t expect this to impact sales in the short term. The Taycan is fresh and hip, meaning there’ll be a glut of people who’ll want to scoop it up as an super-cool conversation piece. Over a longer timeline, that 201 miles range is bound to turn some people off, however. Range anxiety is still a factor in EV sales and, while it may not hurt a model many wealthy people will only use as a second or third vehicle, those who wanted the Taycan as a daily runabout may bolt over to Tesla.

With Volkswagen Group bent on electrification, Porsche will undoubtedly continue massaging the Taycan to improve its overall range. In the meantime, the model may have to rest on its performance chops — which most claim are definitely up to Porsche standards. It also uses an 800-volt system that allows for faster charging than most present-day EVs, further softening the range blow. Thus far, we only have calculations for the Turbo variant. We’ll see how the Taycan Turbo S stacks up once the EPA finishes its testing.

[Images: Porsche]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 13, 2019

    The bright side is they won't be able to tailgate you for very long at least.

  • Tedward Tedward on Dec 13, 2019

    mis-posted this to the mini article Look, AMCI undoubtedly did achieve the mileage that Porsche is touting here, but lets be realistic about what they do. Their role is specifically to provide testing data that’s of use to the manufacturer for advertising and training purposes. Think cheesy sales training videos or alternate talking points for efficiency claims (like this one). I don’t think they could be paid to lie outright, but they are certainly being paid to find a way to present their findings in a useful manner. If a study like that claims an interesting fact it should probably be presented with a very specific notation about this. It may be that there is a very interesting story there and the brand is correct, but I would never take that at face value without a lot of secondary sourcing

  • Dave M. The Outback alternates between decent design and goofy design every generation. 2005 was attractive, 2010 goofy. 2015 decent. 2020 good, but the ‘23 refresh hideous.Looking forward to the Outback hybrid in ‘26…..
  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.